Sunday, November 24, 2013

Brown Sugar Kitchen

A breakfastary roadtrip:
Oakland, CA

Place: Brown Sugar Kitchen
Location: 2534 Mandela Parkway[1], Oakland, CA
Hours: open at 7:00am Tuesday - Saturday,
8:00am Sunday
Meal: Cornmeal Waffle (with brown sugar butter & apple cider syrup); side of breakfast potatoes; and a cuppa ROASTco Artisanal[2] Coffees Brown Sugar Kitchen Blend

(Did you really expect any other song?)

This morning was my first trip across (and back, too) the new half of the Bay Bridge (Nice job, but what the heck took them so long?) and my destination was Brown Sugar Kitchen. This is a somewhat newish (well, about six years old now) nouveau-soul food-diner kind of place. 

(There is no photo of the Bay Bridge, as I was busy driving and that would have just been foolish and dangerous… and I really only thought about it after already having entered the Yerba Buena Island tunnel on my way home.)

To label them just a "Diner" would be very unfair and far from the truth, but, in addition to many standard tables (about 15-20 two-to-four seaters), they have a long diner-style counter overlooking the kitchen area which seats twelve people. That was where I sat this morning.

For not really knowing where Brown Sugar Kitchen was located, it wasn't that bad a trip over there. It was actually very easy to get to from Interstate 80 and it took me less than half an hour to get over there this morning (compare this to about the same amount of time getting to the Ramp yesterday morning on city streets). Let's face it, most San Franciscans won't travel to Oakland unless it's right along a BART line, and even only then if the destination is no more than two blocks from a station. (Okay, Mrs. Nichols, I will admit that this wasn't exactly the posh Nob Hill area, but it was easy enough to get to, and I could see clearly for blocks if there were any minor skirmishes happening around the corner. As it were, I only got shot at twice, but I blame myself for wearing Crips colours in the wrong neighborhood.)

Brown Sugar Kitchen opens up at 8:00am on Sundays. I got there probably at 8:10 and they were already three-quarters full (or one-quarter empty, if you are rather pessimistic). They had three waffle-makers going constantly the entire time I was there. The Kitchen specials seemed to be: Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Cornmeal Waffles, Organic Cheddar Cheese Grits (with or without two poached eggs), and (to start) Beignets (three very large, oblong ones from what I saw, but it looked like they dusted them with wayyyyy too much powdered sugar ~ which was just the plain ol' white variety, not brown ~ on top for my liking) served with BSK seasonal jam (I am not quite sure what this "BSK" stands for, but I am sure that it is something quite tasty).

The cornmeal waffle was excellent and definitely worth the early morning roadtrip over to Oak-town! My one minor (well, major, due to their actual name) complaint would be that they didn't give me enough brown sugar butter on my waffle; there was just one small dab (about enough to fill one grid) on just one quarter of the waffle only. From what I could tell, it was pretty good, but I really would have liked just a little bit more. However, that omission was all made up for (and major-ly eclipsed by) as the real find here is their extremely awesome apple cider syrup! It was absolutely fabulous and extremely tasty! They do offer plain ol' regular maple syrup (and for an additional $2.00 charge at that), too, but I don't know why anyone would not want to try the completely original apple cider syrup. I used my entire little pourer thingy on my waffle and probably could have used more still. I won't say that I was caught trying to lick the last few drops out of the bottom (well, I think the only one to notice was the guy sitting next to me).

The side of breakfast potatoes (which would be "homefries" to those of you named Mrs. Huneycutt) was very good, too. These are made with lots of spices and herbs. It had large chunks of potatoes, but also had lots of potato crumblies, like hash, in it.

The coffee was also very good this morning (well, good enough for at least two refills). ROASTco Artisanal Coffees is a local Oakland coffee roastery and they make an originally crafted blend specifically for Brown Sugar Kitchen. There are also bags of this coffee available for sale at the front. I tried to get the last few drops of the apple cider syrup into one of my refills to see how that would work, but to no avail.

Brown Sugar Kitchen has for condimentary supplements both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce and Crystal® Louisiana's Pure Hot Sauce. I had come prepared with a few of my own bottles, but only used some Palo Alto Firefighters Pepper Sauce ~ XX Habanero (Thanks agains, Amys & Brian!) on the potatoes.

"I said yeah, yeah, yeah, woo!
How come you… how come you taste so good?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo!
Just like a… just like a waffle should
Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo!"

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Cornmeal Waffle ~ 7.2; Apple Cider Syrup ~ 7.4; ROASTco Brown Sugar Kitchen Blend ~ 6.9

1. Mandela Parkway is a relatively new street/boulevard. It basically runs along the area where the Cyprus Freeway used to cut through the neighborhood overhead prior to the Loma Prieta Earthquake on October 17th, 1989 which mostly leveled all of that freeway extension. 

I am not really sure of the parkway's nomenclature, but I think it has something to do with an Italian large, fretted, stringed instrument.

(This is a mural across the street from Brown Sugar Kitchen on a building which is probably a survivor of the demolition.)

2. I swear that Billy-boy and his brownshirt staff of spell-checkers really need to eat out more often. They did not even recognize this as a valid word.

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